Cricket is something more than life; rather, it is Life. Here is a list of 10 such astonishing cricketers who have fought against serious infirmities, diseases and syndromes since their childhood days and throughout their career:-
Michael Atherton (crippling back disease) – Mike Atherton, England’s skipper cum opening batsman, suffered from a degenerative disease called Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) that cripples thousands of people in Britain with its fatal effect and it gave him constant pain throughout his career. Atherton was first diagnosed with this disorder in his early 20s.
Despite his pitiable condition and intense suffering, Atherton was never the one always smiling when in front of cameras. He was constantly suffering pain from a disease that would have stopped other men playing anything, let alone participating in cricket at the International level.
Brian Lara (struck by Hepatitis B) – The West Indian skipper is known to be one of the best left-handed batsmen the cricket world has ever witnessed. It was evident that the bowlers were loomed away by storm with his shot making and aggressive nature.
It was in the year 2002 that Lara’s future as a cricketer was somewhat known to be uncertain by medical practitioners when he was diagnosed with Hepatitis B. Lara was dropped from the ICC Champions Trophy and subsequent tour. However, all this did not keep Lara estranged from the hunt for glory. Lara even scored the test cricket’s first ever and highest till, and so far the only 400, in 2004 against England, regaining his world record of 375 runs back from the fellow Australian Mathew Hayden. If the critics are to be believed, only Lara could have recovered and done that.
Michael Slater (struck by a rare form of arthritis) – This Australian opener, when Australia was on its peak, use to rip apart the opposing teams with expertise and elegance while enjoying the game to its fullest. But that was only the superficial part of his story. There was always much more to him than his batting statistics, and seemingly what looked like a comfortable road for him was, in fact, like walking on a thorny path all day. Slater suffered from ankylosing spondylitis (AS), a back problem.
Yet, he ended his career as one of the best openers in test cricket.
Martin Guptill (have two toes) – He is currently New Zealand’s permanent opener in the limited over format of the game. However, a work accident as a child, when he was just 13, nearly cost Guptill his life when his foot was crushed with a fork hoist. Doctors tried to repair it, but couldn’t. In the end, they had to amputate three toes of his. Since then, Guptill calls him ‘Two Toes’. The nickname has stuck and helps as a reminder of to him for he nearly lost his life when he was just a kid. Guptill recently scored an unbeaten 189 – the highest ever by a Kiwi batsman. But what makes the effort even more remarkable that he has missing toes.
Craig McMillan (struck by diabetes) – Diagnosed with diabetes at an early age of 15, he successfully survived an 11-year international career with 3116 test and 4707 ODI runs which also included an ICC Champions Trophy win. Later, also went on to play the ICL.
He had to take four insulin injections a day and take care of his sleep, food intake, exercise along with so many other things. Such was his will power that even at the age of 31, he achieved the feat of scoring the fastest century by a New Zealander (at that time) from 67 balls against Australia.
Ryan Harris (needed to eradicate wastes of floating bone out of his right knee) – Ryan Harris, the current Australian fast bowler who was also man-of-the-match of the last test of Ashes 2013-14, requires a clean out of his right knee to remove fragments of floating bone.
Harris secured a whooping tally of 22 wickets in the Ashes series and could have gone for the knee surgery in the mid of Ashes which would have ruled him out of the last two test matches against England, but the fast bowler decided not to as he wanted to play all of the five scheduled games, despite knowing that Australia had already wrapped up the series by third match, such was his spirit.
Michael Clarke (suffered due to back issues) – The current Australian captain and one of the most stylish cricketers on this planet, Clarke first came into a domestic squad when he was only 18 and since then has been facing a severe back problem throughout his career. But, instead of complaining about his back and his body, Clarke manages to get accustomed with things, and we all know how successful a player and captain he is.
Shoaib Akhtar (carried by medicinal doses) – The Pakistani pace attack spearhead, popularly known as the ‘Rawalpindi Express’, was the fastest ever bowler produced in the history of cricket. But little do people know that Akhtar’s elbow could move around a shocking 42%. Moreover, this was the case with all his joints. And for this reason, Akhtar’s career exploded with injuries. His fastest delivery of 100.8 mph still remains to be the fastest bowl ever bowled in the game.
Yuvraj Singh (cured out of otherwise deadly cancer) – Yuvraj Singh, aka ‘Yuvi’, as his teammates and the entire Nation would take a pleasure to call out, was the master-man behind India’s winning the World Cup in the year 2011 and World Cup T20 in the year 2007. He was ornamented as the ‘Player of the Tournament’ for the cause of his marvellous performance in the ICC World Cup 2011.
As Yuvraj turned 30, he faced a bigger challenge of life in the form and name of cancer. Although the tumour was cancerous, Singh was lucky to have it detected in the preliminary stage of the otherwise fatal disease. Despite being struck with cancer, Yuvraj Singh is still one of the finest batsmen who has an extra bowler to deal with, his cancer.
Wasim Akram (acute case of diabetes) – Akram had already established himself as arguably the best left arm bowler in the history of cricket by 1990’s but in 1997, Akram had another strong batsman standing right in front of him in the crease in the name of diabetes. After he was diagnosed, Akram returned and became a successful captain of Pakistan in 1999, beat India in India, picked consecutive hatriks and guided the team through to the final of World Cup 1999. After handing over the captaincy, Akram continued with brutal and ravishing bowling spells in Sri Lanka and West Indies and led the bowling attack for Pakistan till the very end of his successful career.